A new jobs bill in the Senate includes an ag disaster package that was cut from a bill passed earlier in the year. Sens. Mac Baucus and Harry Reid introduced the legislation, which is expected to be put on the fast track.

While legislators are still jockeying to shape the legislation, Tara Smith, who works congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, told Farm Press that early reports are favorable for the agriculture package.

“A second jobs bill with tax extenders will be the mechanism for moving it forward. The ag disaster language is included in that bill,” Smith says. My understanding is they’re still looking to make some tweaks to it. But, basically, the language that was in the (Baucus/Grassley) jobs bill is what’s in this one.”

The breakdown of funding requests includes:

  • Supplemental direct payments at $1.1 billion.
  • Cottonseed assistance at $42 million.
  • Aquaculture at $25 million.
  • A Hawaiian sugar cooperative deal at $21 million.
  • Poultry loans at $75 million.
  • Livestock losses are at $50 million.
  • Specialty crops are at $150 million.

“The hope is [the bill] will move relatively quickly and it’ll be done before Easter recess. There are a lot of pieces in play, right now. We’ll hopeful it’ll move through the Senate pretty quickly and then, of course, it’ll be dealt with by the House before an agreement is made,” Smith says. “What’s included in this bill for disaster assistance may not be what’s in the final package. There could be changes before everything is said and done.”

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